Things to do with your dog during the lockdown
Lockdown has meant huge changes for people’s lives and their pets. The upside is that you may be spending more time at home with your dog but the downside is that some of the usual activities you might have taken part in – dog agility, dog training, even just walking with friends – are all currently on the banned list.
Fortunately, with a little bit of creativity and imagination, you can keep your dog amused during lockdown outside of his daily walk and you don’t need a huge amount of space either or a big budget.
Here are some quick and easy things you can do with your dog during the lockdown.
- Treat him to some screen time, there are lots of films on YouTube designed to act as doggy television, just remember to keep hold at first or protect your television or laptop as these clips can create a pretty spectacular response!
- Treasure hunts and search games are a great and occupying activity for the house or the garden. Hide treats or favourite toys around the house and use the ‘sniff and search’ techniques to encourage your dog to find them
- Make sure your dog has plenty of chew toys. Chewing is a natural activity for dogs and can keep your dog occupied for hours as well as keeping their teeth clean
- The shell game will provide hours of endless fun. Place three large plastic cups upside down on the floor and hide a treat under one of them. Move the cups around each other whilst your dog watches and then see if he can select the correct cup with the treat underneath which is his reward
- This could be the time to refine your dog’s training or start even start some basic command activities – this takes time which you may have plenty of. Use clicker trainer which is a type of reward-based training which uses a clicker to tell your dog that he has done the right thing
- Change your dog’s usual feed bowl for a snuffle mat or a puzzle feed to make mealtimes a bit more interesting
- Spend time grooming your dog – this is a great way to improve your bond as well as good for his skin and coat
- Make an obstacle course in the house or garden, like mini dog agility but using everyday household objects. Children will love creating this and it can be incorporated with elements of training such as sitting and waiting. Make sure it is safe and there are no sharp corners or items which can be knocked over if you build one in the house and ensure that the floor is not slippery
- I’m forever blowing bubbles – use the pet-friendly bubbles which are flavoured and will entertain your dog as he chases after them
- If you are working from home then place their bed next to your desk or work station. Your dog will love your company and a selection of toys can keep him amused
It is important to keep to a routine with your dog and this may be quite a different regime than the one you had pre-lockdown. A change of routine to a new order during lockdown won’t upset your dog but a routine that changes every day will make him unsettled.
Don’t do too much with your dog either via over-exercise or over-stimulation particularly if your dog is elderly or has underlying health conditions. It is important not to walk him too much if you head out once for daily exercise just because you have been cooped up inside and want to go for miles. A second exercise session can take place in the house or garden and involve low key activity if your dog has already had a good walk earlier in the day.
Remember your dog should have some quiet time particularly if the household is busy all day with children who would usually be at school and adults who are normally at work. Create a quiet area for your dog with a den where he knows he can remain undisturbed so he has his own allocated time out to rest and sleep in peace.
Lockdown can be great for your dog as he may get to spend more time with you than he did before. Just remember, animals thrive on routine so try and keep his schedule the same every day. Dogs require both mental and physical stimulation so it doesn’t have to be all exercised based. The greatest boon for your dog is you and most dogs are thrilled to spend more time with their families during the lockdown.